Monday, June 05, 2006

SIFR Alternative - Update

I have posted the latest build of my heading replacement library at This build includes numerous performance tweaks, a couple of bug fixes, and a major change to the element selection methodology.

First off, I fixed Ian's bug, where some headings scrolled when highlighted by dragging the mouse. Secondly, I have greatly refined the process by which you specify which heading elements will be replaced, and in the process provided support for multiple fonts. Here's how it works:

1) Specify the path to your fonts in a css font or font-family declaration. Paths must be in double or single quotes:

font-family:"Swf/FranklinGothicBook.swf", Helvetica, sans-serif;

Note that the font lists still work: if you don't include the JS library, the CSS selector behaves as you'd expect it to, and you'd get Helvetica. Also, inheritance works the way you'd expect it to, and you can override the declaration later in the style sheet or in an inline style.

I really like this approach because it allows me to specify fonts where style information should be specified (in STYLE sheets), and it does not require a lot of JavaScript overhead for the purpose of parsing CSS selectors. The swf path is merely passed along in the computed style of the element. Sadly, there is no way I know of to make this approach work in Opera, as it does not support document.styleSheets and it does not pass along the swf path from the font declaration. So, I'm making a decision at this point that I will not make any further efforts to be compatible with Opera. I think it's a safe bet that the few people who do use Opera will not miss the smooth fonts, since the pages will gracefully degrade to normal web text anyway.

My next steps will include tweaking the swf path stuff. Presently, you specify FontName.swf and the parser changes that to FontNameV6.swf and FontNameV8.swf, both of which must be on your server. I'd like to come up with something cleaner, more of a single font package that would work for both version 6 and 8. Also, I have some performance tuning to do in terms of decreasing the number of function calls that are made between the swf files and the JavaScript. I may try to create some kind of automatic switching between a high-performance and low-performance mode.

As always, let me know what you think of the demo!

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Anonymous John Hattan said...

Still looking good. Any indication as to when you're going to make this available for download?

6:35 AM  
Blogger tom said...

I'm not exactly sure, as I still have a number of things I want to finish up. It's definitely a matter of weeks, not months. Thanks for the interest!

10:02 AM  
Anonymous Mark Wubben said...

Hey Tom, I ran into the scrolling when selecting problem as well, would you mind sharing the fix? :)

Also, you've got some good Flash related content here, keep it up!

11:52 AM  
Anonymous shane said...

Tom please release this! sifr 3 is so painful. Not so much in the capabilities but more so in having to use various files to format the headings. It gets confusing at times and I'm *loving* how you've implemented it being handled directly in the css. Please email me if needed, I would love to use it on a high profile site. Thanks!

info (at)

2:01 PM  
Anonymous Tommie Hansen said...

Please pick this up again. There aren't any good SIFR-alternatives at all except yours... but it's a bit outdated unfortunately. :/

7:18 AM  
Anonymous Dmitri said...

One reason not to use Flash-based text headlines is that they do not print well - you get your 72dpi instead of the 600 or 1200 dpi you expect. This is really a problem of browsers that just do not know how to print flash properly.

2:06 PM  
Blogger Cory said...

I've created an alternative to sIFR that someone might find useful at

It doesn't use flash (but does require PHP/gd). Check it out.

9:25 AM  
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